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2015 TDA Summit Moved to Aria, Away from Adelson’s Stink

After a brief kerfuffle over the host venue for the 2015 Tournament Directors Association (TDA) Summit, order has been restored as Matt Savage announced Friday that the Summit will be held at the Aria in Las Vegas June 26th and 27th.

The mini-controversy was set off in late March when Savage, one of the most respected tournament directors around, announced that the 2015 TDA Summit would take place at the Venetian. We can all agree that the Venetian is a wonderful property, what with the canals and restaurants and what-not, but there is one teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy problem. Said glittering desert wonderment built with the savings of hopeless dreamers is owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corp., whose chief mucky-muck is one Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is online poker’s public enemy numero uno and is busy buying his way through Washington, D.C. to get online gambling banned throughout this great nation.

As such, there was quite the outcry in the poker community upon hearing the news that the TDA Summit would be held at the house that Scrooge built. People did not want Adelson to benefit in any way from hosting.

Linda Johnson, one of the TDA’s board members, explained the situation on Two Plus Two:

The 2011 Summit was held at the Rio but the costs were too prohibitive for us to have it there in 2013. We asked multiple properties and price quotes came back at $20,000 or more. The Venetian offered to donate the conference space for two days, provide all A/V equipment (this alone is more than $5K), provide beverages and snacks, set-up crew, etc.


Sheldon Adelson

Getting everything for free is certainly a valid reason to grin and bear it, but really, in this situation, the TDA really should have considered appearances and gone elsewhere. There is absolutely nobody more hated in the poker world right now than Adelson – he is actively trying to hurt poker players and the TDA – sometimes you just have to figure out a way to suck up the cost and move on.

Members of the poker community, after making their voices heard, also tried to help out, giving alternatives. In particular, Global Poker Index chief Alexandre Dreyfus offered to foot the bill if the TDA moved the Summit.

In the end, the TDA did not take Dreyfus up on his offer, but did find a new location, the Aria, located a couple blocks south from the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip. Like the Venetian, the Aria has donated its facilities and services to the TDA, but unlike the Venetian, the Aria’s owner isn’t sitting in the shadows, stroking a white cat. Because the TDA is non-profit and does not charge any sort of membership dues, even a few thousand dollars can be a tough invoice to pay, so having the costs defrayed is a boon for the organization.

Back on Two Plus Two, Matt Savage expressed his thanks to all involved:

I would like to thank some people for stepping up and making this a lot less painful then it could have been.

The TDA Board (Mike Bishop, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, Dave Lamb,
Neil Johnson, Jack Effel, and Tab Duchateu)

Adam Altweis at Aria and Craig Lumpp at Bellagio

Chris Gawlick at Planet Hollywood who had stepped up if Aria fell through

Steve Mcloughlin who was a VERY helpful behind the scenes liaison

Bree Goldman who reached out with assistance

Alex Dreyfus for offering to help though we ended up just dealing with the Aria directly

The whole Venetian situation was far more a part of the fact that TD Tommy La Rosa had stepped up as they did in 2013 and offered the same services. Maybe it was the board not having the time to actively search for other venues or that we felt we were not directly “supporting” Sheldon’s efforts to stop online poker but none the less we accepted.

The outcry of the poker public was heard loud and clear and many of the people and players I respect greatly personally voiced their displeasure that we were returning there. It was because of this outcry that many stepped up to help and we appreciate all of the offers.

With the new dates and a great venue in Aria we look forward to another productive TDA Summit and you can find out how to sign up if you are a tournament director or card room manager at While it is not open to the public we will also have some players also in attendance plus a live stream hosted on Twitch by Rob Perelman.

A lot more information to come and thanks again for your patience and understanding in finding a new venue.


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